Strength of imagination

By Shea Stanfield

“Imagination does not become great until human beings, given the courage and the strength, use it to create.” Maria Montessori

Local artist Edie Bernocco’s family provided her with an abundance of encouragement and strength to explore her creativity throughout her childhood. Bernocco grew up in Collingdale, Penn., a small town just outside of Philadelphia, with parents who were her greatest supporters.

“They always bought me art supplies when I needed them and encouraged me to paint and draw, she said.” 

Some of Bernocco’s most treasured memories were her trips, with her mom, to the Philadelphia Art Museum. There she would collect endless inspirational ideas from the great masters for use in her own painting and drawings. She admits to not being formally trained in the arts but, despite that, she was a persistent student of technique and style. 

“I would buy books and instruction manuals to learn new techniques that I found interesting; by the time I was in 6th grade my parents enrolled me in a correspondence art course that would teach me the basics of drawing and illustration,” Bernocco said.

Over the years, Bernocco has remained dedicated to her artistic exploration in the realm of oils, pastels and ink. Her husband is now her number one fan, encouraging her to continue to pursue her creative work. Recently, Bernocco discovered the work of Alicia Tormey, an encaustic artist from Seattle. Encaustic is painting with beeswax that has been heated to a liquid. Last year, Bernocco traveled to Seattle for a personal workshop with Tormey, which has certainly taken some of the trial, error and guesswork out of the technique. As a result, encaustic painting has been Bernocco’s main focus.

Arizona became home to Bernocco and her family when they moved to the New River area to be closer to extended family. She enthusiastically reports now having a home art studio, where she finds time to work between her part-time job as an MRI technologist at Honor Health and being a stay-at-home mom.  The new, high-desert environment is a constant inspiration for her realistic images done in paint or pastels. But when she wants to work with a more expressive and representative style, Bernocco moves into her increasingly popular encaustic painting for her subject matter.

Bernocco’s work is on display in the Sonoran Arts League’s 4th annual Top Shelf Invitational Small Works Show, featuring juried works by Arizona artists. The paintings, sculptures and mixed-media pieces in this popular show are all within the 12” x 12” size limit and affordably priced. The show is open to the public, free of charge, through March 15. Hours are Monday to Saturday 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and 1 to 4 p.m. on Sundays. The show is located at 7100 E. Cave Creek Road, Suite 144 in Cave Creek. To view a selection of Bernocco’s work or to contact her, visit her website